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With the ASC

With the ASC

There was one group of chaplains who spent their whole time travelling and never, or at least very seldom, enjoyed the privilege of living in one fixed spot. These were the chaplains attached to the NZASC. At first Padre Jamieson was chaplain for the Reserve page 69 Mechanical Transport Company and the three other ASC companies, but in Syria an extra chaplain was appointed and Padre Jamieson remained with the Reserve Mechanical Transport Company. Later a chaplain was appointed for each of these three companies— Supply. Petrol, and Ammunition—bringing the total to four, and among them they covered the smaller NZASC units such as the Tank Transporter Company, etc.

To the outside world the ASC was a strange tribe which seemed to consist of laconic individuals permanently tied to the driving seat of big trucks, with no apparent entity or attachment other than to their vehicles. But the ASC had a unit life as real as it was strong. Certainly its members were well dispersed and their lives spent in perpetual travel, for there was always someone or something in urgent need of transport. The chaplain had much to do in keeping in touch with a scattered flock and learning their special hardships and interests.

There was plenty of danger, for supply convoys were a favourite target for air attack, and it was never pleasant to contemplate an explosion near ammunition or petrol. Moreover, it was often necessary for one of these trucks to stay for long periods in the battle area until its contents were needed, which meant that the drivers had the unenviable duty of being on the battlefield without any set tasks to occupy the anxious periods of waiting. The ASC chaplains came to appreciate these conditions and to play their part in this specialised gipsy life. Their constant travelling supplied many opportunities for such extra work as services with small units and visits to the dressing stations.